- Public authorities and experts from different fields debated yesterday in Argentina and today in Chile the challenges of road safety and how public-private involvement can help to reduce accident rates on roads.
- Abertis is presenting the latest developments in its global Road Safety programme such as its innovative agreement with UNICEF to protect children on the world's roads and provide a safe journey to school and its global agreement with the iRAP organisation (International Road Assessment Programme) in order to contribute to the continuous improvement of its own roads.
- The Road Safety forums in Argentina and Chile follow those held in Spain (Planeta Vial on 9 April) and Brazil (Segurança Arteris Forum in September). Further editions are planned in other countries in which the Abertis Group operates.
Abertis has exported its international road safety forums to Argentina and Chile. Yesterday and today public authorities, road safety experts and transport sector professionals in both countries in the Southern Cone region found out about the latest trends in road accident prevention and debated how the public and private sector can work together to help reduce traffic accidents.
In Argentina, the Abertis International Road Safety Forum gathered yesterday, 12th april, representatives of the government of President Mauricio Macri, road traffic authorities and various civil society organisations. The meeting was inaugurated by Javier Iguacel, Executive Director of the National Highways Directorate; and Andrés Barberis, Managing director of Autopistas Argentinas Abertis and Chairman of Autopistas del Sol and Autopistas del Oeste, the two concessionaires controlled by Abertis in the country.
Present at the meeting were other members of the Argentinian public administration such as Juan José Méndez, Transport Secretary of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires (GCBA); Victor Stephens, Director of Policy and Road Safety of the Province of Buenos Aires; and Verónica Heler, Director of the Road Safety Observatory at the National Road Safety Agency. Among other participants, there were other representatives of civil society such as Hugo Palamara of the Association of Transit and Transport Journalists (APTTA) and Gustavo Brambati, from the CESVI, Road Experimentation Centre (CESVI). As a special guest, there was Alberto Escobar, Public Affairs Manager at the Automobile Club of Chile. Representing Abertis were Philippe Fenain, Director of Operations, Quality and Safety; Alejandro Colldefors, International relations Manager; and Daniel Failo, Operations Director of Autopistas del Sol and Autopistas del Oeste; presenting all of them the latest developments in the Abertis Road Safety Programme.
In Chile, the international Abertis forum entitled "Mobility and Road Safety: the challenge of travelling safely" will take place today. The meeting will be inaugurated by Gloria Hutt Hesse, the country's Transport and Telecommunications Minister, and Luis Miguel de Pablo, Managing Director of VíasChile, the Abertis’ subsidiary in the country.
As in Argentina, the Chilean forum is setting the debate from different perspectives, such as the road safety raising-awareness campaigns among the most vulnerable groups, or from the standpoint of the road construction and maintenance model with the aim of highlighting best practices in road safety. Sergi Loughney, Director of Institutional Relations and CSR and Director of the Abertis Foundation; and Christian Arbulu, Operations Director of VíasChile, will join the Abertis group of representatives.
The first panel, entitled "Current challenges in road safety: from risk to prevention", will feature representatives of the concessions sector including Hugo Vera, Concessions Coordinator of the Ministry of Public Works, Luis Alberto Stuven, Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Transit Safety (CONASET); and Alberto Escobar, Public Affairs Manager at the Automobile Club of Chile. The second round table, entitled “Components for a safe motorway", will be attended by Rodrigo Delgado, Mayor of the municipality of Estación Central, and Franco Basso, a professor from Diego Portales University.
The Road Safety forums in Argentina and Chile are the latest in the series organised by the Abertis Group. In Spain, the 2nd Planeta Vial Meeting was held on 9 April, while in Brazil the Abertis’ subsidiary Arteris stages its Road Safety Forum every September, with the fourth edition taking place in 2017. The objective is to increase the number of countries taking part in this network of International Road Safety Programmes, adding France or Italy.
Agreement with the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP): independent auditors for "forgiving roads"
Also noteworthy is the global agreement with the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) to promote its “forgiving roads” scheme by applying the very highest standards of road safety.
iRAP is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to saving lives on roads. It employs a scientific methodology and predictive tools recognised by prestigious institutions such as the United Nations and the World Bank.
Abertis has become the first private toll road operator to cooperate at the global level with iRAP. The scientific methodology applied will enable Abertis to have an independent audit of the safety level of its toll roads which is standardised and highly professional, contributing to a continuous improvement of the Group’s toll road.
Abertis-UNICEF Rights of Way alliance
Sergi Loughney will offer an update on the framework agreement reached last October with UNICEF to tackle the main cause of death in children of school age: road accidents. Abertis now collaborates with the Institut Guttmann, a hospital specialised in the medical-surgical treatment and comprehensive rehabilitation of persons with spinal cord injuries, acquired brain damage or other neurological disabilities.
Under this new agreement, two medical teams specialised in the treatment of injuries of neurological origin (spinal cord injury and acquired brain damage) from the Institut Guttmann will travel to different countries to carry out training sessions and advise local doctors on best practices for the prevention and treatment of injuries sustained in traffic accidents.
The teams will initially visit hospitals in the Philippines and Jamaica, countries included in the UNICEF-Abertis agreement where, as in many other low and middle-income countries, the child road accident rate is a public health issue. There are plans to increase the number of countries that benefit from this agreement in future.
Selection of the medical centres for the training sessions will be based on local needs and take into account the advice of local bodies involved with victim care and the prevention of medical complications. In Jamaica, collaboration is planned with the Association of Orthopaedic Physicians, while in the Philippines work will be carried out with large medical centres.
The framework programme of Abertis and UNICEF is the first global road safety agreement between a corporation and the international organisation and will initially entail investment of US$3Mn between 2017 and 2019, though it could be extended to other countries where the road accident rate is a public health issue.
This investment will be in three main areas:
- Providing safe routes to school for all children: low-speed zones, safe infrastructure, advocacy, and education.
- Safe school transport for every child: through legislation, improving the transportation system, advocacy to improve the safety of transport to and from school (seatbelts, regulations for school buses, etc.)
- Child helmet initiative (particularly in countries where motorcycles have become the main means of family transport): advocacy, awareness campaigns, helmet provision, etc.
The Project will focus on 50 schools and will reach around 250,000 children. At the national level, this pilot project is expected to complement existing domestic road safety policy.
The main activities, undertaken in partnership with the Ministries of Health and Education, will be: development of educational and awareness materials aimed at students, parents and the general public; improvement of the national road safety system (cross-referencing existing data, analysis of current legislation, tracking methods, development and inclusion of road safety indicators for children); analysis of the national strategy with the different groups involved.
The Project will focus on 15 schools and will aim to reach around 12,500 children.
The main activities, undertaken in partnership with the National Road Safety Council and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, will be: creating safe areas around schools (zebra crossings, signalling, etc.); establishing student clubs to promote road safety; strengthening the curriculum with a view to changing habits and behaviours regarding road safety; institutional strengthening at different levels; organisation of awareness-raising campaigns.
Road safety is included in two of the Sustainable Development Goals (3.6 and 11.2), and the priority of a "safe journey to school for all children" is a commitment of the United Nations New Urban Agenda - Habitat III.
For more information on the Abertis Road Safety programme, visit https://www.abertis.com/en/safety-and-tech/road-safety